"She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and listened to His words." —Luke 10:39
Jesus lived in the obscurity and silence of Nazareth for almost thirty years before His three years of public ministry. Saul, after one of the greatest conversions in history, did not plunge into ministry. He described the three years after his conversion: "Immediately, without seeking human advisers or even going to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, I went off to Arabia; later I returned to Damascus" (Gal 1:16-17). We don't know what Saul did in Arabia and Damascus, but it is probable that he sat "at the Lord's feet and listened to His words" (Lk 10:39). Before significant ministry for the Lord, we need years of listening in places like Nazareth, Arabia, or Damascus, culminating in our own forty days in the silence of the desert (see Mt 4:1-2).
In today's Gospel reading, the Lord may not have been telling Martha to stop working altogether but to pray and listen first. Then she would really work in the power of the Spirit. Because we need to hear from the Lord before we work for Him, we must be quick to hear and slow to speak and act (see Jas 1:19).
This may explain why the devil keeps us so busy and makes us so noisy. He knows that if we don't hear God, we won't believe in Him (Rm 10:17). Then we will never do the work of God, which is to "have faith in the One Whom He sent" (Jn 6:29). Be quiet, hear, and work.
Prayer: Father, quiet my soul (Ps 131:2) and open my ears (Is 50:4).
Promise: "Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." —Luke 10:42
Praise: Nine years after his vasectomy, Ralph repented, joined a small Christian community, and had his vasectomy reversed.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our publication, Hearing God.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 2, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 3, 1996